The Loop

Golf Digest Podcast: TaylorMade CEO David Abeles says there's still plenty of room for innovation in golf clubs

September 16, 2016

The cynical consumer listens to golf-equipment manufacturers’ repeated marketing pitches about their latest and greatest products and does the rudimentary math. If this club is 10 yards long than the previous one, which was 16 yards long than its predecessor, which was 9 yards longer than the one before that, I should probably be hitting my drives 300 yards? With the same raised eyebrow, another doubt arises: When do the laws of physics clash with the barriers put up by the USGA and R&A?

David Abeles can appreciate the wariness, but the CEO and president at TaylorMade-adidas Golf, who joins us this week on the latest edition of the Golf Digest podcast, says that despite his potentially biased voice, the incremental gains touted in distance, spin and feel with each new offering are based in substance—and science. It’s why he believes the company has had success in 2016 with its M1 and M2 drivers after changing its construction properties to improve stability and speed and optimize personalization.

Moreover, Abeles says there is room for further innovation in golf equipment both in the short and long term, stating that he’s “very bullish and optimistic” about being able to bring to market down the road equipment that improves on the performance of current offerings. In fact, if there’s any restriction on innovation, Abeles says it’s due to production capabilities needing to catch up with R&D departments.

“Some of the technologies we’re not even capable of developing and manufacturing yet because there are multi-phases to the development process,” Abeles says.

On the podcast, Abeles discusses a variety of topics, including the state of the golf equipment industry in the increasingly competitive retail environment and the status of the pending sale of TaylorMade by its parent company, Adidas AG. He also gives his thoughts on how the departure of Nike and the addition of PXG have and will impact the current equipment landscape and what the latest news on the pending bankruptcy filing by retailer Golfsmith might mean for consumers.